fucking facebook
June 17, 2008

by pegleghippie

I avoided facebook for years, out of a desire to not make an exhibitionist out of myself.  Switzerland changed all that, since i wanted to steal pictures.

Now that I have a facebook, I think there may have been a secondary reason for my avoidance.  I didn’t want to think about how religious everyone was.  I mean most religious folks aren’t usually that devout, but facebook doesn’t distinguish.  On the little religious blank, you either are (one of millions of different options) or you aren’t.  I proudly wrote in “atheist” on the little line, but didn’t give it too much thought.  I imagine most of my friends didn’t give it much thought either when they wrote in some derivative of “christian.”  

But once again, all I see is “christian,” and I usually think, “for shatner’s sake, another one?”  So facebook’s binary nature is encouraging my own prejudices, and I end up judging people as fundies when they’re really moderates or apathetics.  I don’t like it.  I don’t like thinking less of my friends because of the set up of a stupid social networking site. 

Of course some people avoid the issue all together.  My best friend simply never filled in the religious blank, and although it’s been years since we’ve talked about religion, I know where he stands and he knows where I stand (I assume).  It’s just not an issue between us, and on things that are issues between us, we usually have interesting conversations.  We win either way, is what I’m saying.  

But with most friends and facebook, I lose.  I lose respect for people that I liked enough to call “friends,” over the stupidest of electronic forms that they filled out.  I know its mostly a matter of prejudice with myself, but facebook isn’t helping anything by focusing attention on the issue.

It would be different if people started questioning me.  “Why are you an atheist?” “Don’t you believe in god, or at least mean agnostic?”  But I don’t get those questions.  Everyone just accepts me and moves on (once again, I assume), but for some reason, I can’t reciprocate in kind.  It’s an annoying prejudice of mine, and one that I wish I knew how to overcome.  Now that I see that religious spot on everyone’s facebook page, I have to wonder, was I really avoiding facebook because I wanted to avoid exhibitionism?  Or was I avoiding facing the differences in people that bother me?

Pegleghippie enters politics
April 28, 2008

by pegleghippie

(This shows up when you search for ‘politic’)

So due to some systemic loopholes, I am now a senator for the Student Government Association at my school.

Let me start by saying that by and large, I consider myself unelectable. I abhor the idea of campaigning, literally selling myself to people. I also take a lot of unpopular positions, pretty much summed up by my membership in the Green Party. While green politics may be increasingly popular, they are still just barely on the fringe. And I refuse to be dishonest about my political views; people deserve to know what they’re voting for. Hence, I’m unelectable.

So to become senator, I took a different route.  Turns out our SGA did a rather awful job of finding candidates for this year’s elections.  Only 6 people ran for 21 seats.  I was informed by a friend who was involved in SGA of this situation, and that the other senators would simply be confirmed.  Then I met with the newly elected president, who said all I had to do was to send in an application and show up at the meeting, and there would be a chance that I would get the nod.

So I show up at this meeting, see a few people that I know, and sit next to this guy, we’ll call him Ishmael, who I work with.  I could see why the elections were disorganized; the whole meeting was like a very polite but ineffective argument, mostly about procedure.  Eventually, they get around to confirmations.  One by one, we were called upon to talk a little about ourselves and what we wanted the SGA to do in the coming year.  One by one, people were confirmed, including Ishmael, who gave like, a 10 minute speech on what he was concerned about before they could vote on him.  Then it happened: someone was voted down.  It was a freshman girl.  She wasn’t really involved in anything, and didn’t really know anything about the school.  It was kind of sad.

Anyway, so I was the second-to-last one to be called up.  I stuck by my principle of letting the decision makers know what I was all about:  I hit the environmental angle hard, and stressed open communication between SGA and students, and the need to be more democratic within the school setup.  I answered a few questions, but the best part of the night for me came next.

 One of the newly-elected senators, we’ll call him Gary, spoke up.  Now I met Gary last friday when we both volunteered at the food bank.  We talked about various school programs and intelligence and good and bad in people, kind of deep topics.  We disagreed to some extent on nearly everything, but he struck me as an interesting, intelligent guy.  Still, I had known him for 4 days at this point.  Gary said to the senate that he knew me, that I was a highly intelligent, caring person who would be great as a Senator, and that I had his vote.  I was floored.  I had just received an endorsement from someone! I thanked him of course.  THEN, then, things got cooler.  A friend of mine, I’ll call him Samuel, stood up in the audience and gave me another endorsement.  I went to high school with Samuel, and he was a senator last year, and it was really just all too much for me to have ever asked for.  I thanked him too, of course.

So then I left the room while they voted.  I don’t know if the endorsements meant anything to the vote, but it meant a lot to me.  The moral of the story is, i guess, be good to your friends, have interesting conversations with strangers, and they’ll get your back in the future.